Placemaking

First, I just learned about this this week:
Shotspotter, tech locating gunshots
What other sounds are they hearing? What could be heard?

NEA placemaking grants “OUR TOWN”
“the National Endowment for the Artswill provide a limited number of grants for creative placemaking projects that contribute towards the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. – See more at: http://arts.gov/grants-organizations/our-town/introduction#sthash.fqlwRIj5.dpuf”

Creative Placemaking: How to do it Well

The emphasis on creating jobs and improving the economy of a community through creative placemaking has meant that success is measured by things like increasing property values–which is one of the hallmarks of gentrification. The NEA has tried to soften the measures (using the term fuzzy vibrancy), by pushing the importance of ‘the right to an expressive life,” “livability” and “beauty.”

“For one, we would stress the intrinsic contributions of arts and culture as co-equal with instrumental contributions. Many creative placemakers and their patrons strive for more than job creation, reuse of abandoned buildings, commercial retail sales—traditional economic development results. They aim for a more expansive notion of livability. They also deliver what arts and culture do best: beauty, heritage, innovation, bonding within cultures and bridging across them, social critique, entertainment, and expression, or as former NEA chairman Bill Ivey put it, a “right to an expressive life.”

For another, we’d emphasize more fully the importance of equity. Creative placemaking initiatives should be designed to expand opportunities for low-income communities, people of color, and artists. They should also take care not to displace (either directly or via property value and rent escalation) existing residents, their practices and cultural gathering places. Forceful voices from within the creative placemaking community have articulated these concerns and pointed to alternatives, as we have on gentrification and equity research agendas.”

It just makes me want to make something ugly, messy, un-designed, and rife with conflict. Isn’t that what an expressive life looks like?

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